Stocks in the news: Apple, Google, Palm, McDonald's, Talbots, Kraft

Some of the companies making headlines today:

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) is in talks to arrange about $8 billion of financing for its bid to buy candy maker Cadbury Plc (CBY), according to two people with knowledge of the matter. It also plans to cut its supplier base in half, a move that would affect more than 30,000 companies, as it looks to save more than $300 million a year.

Apple (AAPL) is expected to launch new iPods at a music event at 1 p.m. Eastern. Apple 2.0 summarizes some of the expectations from the event, which include iPod camera.

Palm (PALM) unveiled its latest smartphone, the Pixi. A smaller version of the Pre, the Pixi is geared towards younger users. Shares dropped nearly 5 percent in pre-market.

Talbots Inc (TLB) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss on Wednesday, signaling that the retailer's turnaround plan through cost-cutting and better merchandising is paying off. Shares jumped over 12 percent ahead of the bell.

McDonald's Corp. (MCD) said on Wednesday that global same-store ales rose 2.2 percent in August thanks to the hamburger chain's new McCafe coffee drinks that perked up results. Shares fell 2 percent in pre-market.

Google (GOOG) will hold an investor presentation on search and monetization at 1 p.m.

E-Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC) said Wednesday chairman and CEO Donald Layton will leave at the end of the year. Shares gained about 2.5 percent ahead of the bell. Skechers USA Inc. (SKX) said Wednesday that its CFO Fred Schneider is resigning.

Vivus Inc. (VVUS) announced positive results from two Phase 3 studies of its investigational obesity treatment Qnexa. Shares rallied about 60 percent in premarket trade.

Dr Pepper Snapple (DPS) affirmed its guidance.

Selected analyst calls:
  • Citigroup upgraded Capital One (COF) from Hold to Buy and MasterCard (MA) from Sell to Hold.
  • Bernstein upgraded eBay (EBAY) from Market Perform to Outperform.
  • JP Morgan upgraded Morgan Stanley (MS) from Neutral to Overweight but downgraded UBS (UBS) from Overweight to Neutral.
  • JP Morgan upgraded UPS (UPS) from Neutral to Overweight.
  • Credit Suisse downgraded Palm (PALM) from Overweight to Neutral.

Lazard (LAZ) fell 3.5 percent in pre-market trade as holders are selling 5.2 million shares.

Petrobras (PBR), BG Group (BRGYY) and Repsol (REP) found a field that may have up to 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

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